BERLIN - It took 10 regular season games, two bye weeks and one round of the postseason for the Berlin football team to successfully stop its opponents run game and they did it without the help of defensive lineman Zach Hrubiec.
“We hit a little adversity, but we hung in there and stopped the run,” Berlin head coach Joe Aresimowicz said. “We worked a lot this week on tackling. That’s a good team right there [Watertown]. They have a very good quarterback, their running back is good. Fortunately, we were able to make the stops that we needed too, even though they were able to put some points on the board.”
Stopping the run game has been a sore spot for the Redcoats and something they have been struggling with all season, especially over the final three weeks of the regular season.
“We worked on it all week long,” Berlin running back Alex Halkias said. “During the past games we had to lock up, so that’s what we did and I think it shows. We only gave up 14 points.”
The work the Redcoats put in over the past two weeks showed Tuesday night in their 27-14 victory over Watertown in the quarterfinals of the Class M tournament.
“Our defense was phenomenal,” running back James Mazzarella said. “They drove down on us, but we always come out big and in the end we stop them.”
Three weeks ago when Berlin saw Rocky Hill, Hrubiec suffered a concussion. The following game against New Britain he was benched, along with four other players. It was a split second decision whether or not he would play against the Indians Tuesday night. As a safety percussion, Aresimowicz decided to only use him if he was needed.
“I got cleared to play for the game on [Tuesday], but they said it was smarter for me to rest,” Hrubiec said. “In an emergency scenario I would go in, but we were comfortable most of the game. But I’ll be back for Sunday. We’re full force.”
Aresimowicz added, “Hrubiec is a dominate player and should be an all-state player. We’ll have him back for Sunday full go and I feel sorry for the offensive linemen that has to face him.”
The Redcoats will need Hrubiec in their next contest. Berlin will matchup against top-seeded and undefeated Killingly (11-0) Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m.
“Killingly is going to be a big battle for us,” Mazzarella said. “I truly believe that we are a good enough team to beat them. A lot of people have been doubting us and we just have to work on our running game like we have been, and I think we stopped their run pretty well tonight so that’s all we have to work on.”
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